Jul 31, 2012

Trent's email 7/25/12

Hey Mom, hey Dad
Well, we didn't get everything done today, but we took it easy, so
there's less stress.  I like it that way.  I just wish I had time for
everything.  But, hey, what can you do?
Aah, a simple life sounds a little refreshing!  I'm a little jealous.
Not too much, I'd get bored quickly.  What do you cook?  I feel so
helpless here.  Like, I don't really know what's well priced, so I
just cook the same rice with beans and meat thing that my Dominican
comp taught me.  This week, I couldn't take it anymore.  I've been
eating Ramen and PBJ.  I just feel helpless.  I can do fried chicken,
roasted chicken, something called sauced beef, sauced chicken, and
sauced pork.  I really need some new ideas.  In honor of Zoe, I bought
a whole bunch of vegetables this week and I'm gonna try to work them
in creatively.  My comp refuses to let me teach him how to cook-I hope
it's really because he doesn't like to cook, and not because he hates
my cooking.
Dad, do you get paid by hour, or by salary?  Go Mitt, I think he'll
make the Economy a little better for our class, at least.  I don't
feel so good about the lower classes...  Economics are so dumb anyway.
We just need to work back to pioneer times, where you trade based on
your needs.  Bye bye, plastic surgeons.
I'm so glad to know that you're all together!  That's awesome.  That's
exciting, I can't wait to come home to that.  Eating dinner at night
with you guys.  Joking.  Laughing. Talking about life.  Haha.  People
who talk.  Wow.  It seems so unreal.  My comp's opening up a little.
But not a ton.
Happy Pioneer day yesterday!  I was thinking about how cool it is that
we have that heritage. I think it's based on that heritage that I'm so
conservative... work for your grains, you know?  I talk to lots of
liberal missionaries out here.  They think that people are despicable
and need to be controlled.  Sometimes, they've got me convinced.
Dominicans have a few issues.
Cool about Henry B. Eyring.  Good guy.  I like to refer to him as the
Turtle.  And Elder Holland is the Bulldog.  Watch for it.
Wow.  Neuroscience program man, gone nuts.  I can't even believe that
something like that would come from an educated person.  Maybe Chris
Nolan (that's the name of the director of batman, right?)'s concepts
are sinking a little too deeply in people's heads, and they're gonna
start going nuts. How was the third movie?  It's the only one that has
actually made me miss the theater in the last 9 months.
Whoa, whoa, what?  Harley's gone?  When did this happen?  I didn't
know.  Okay.  Well, at least it was the dog, and not the sister.
Count your blessings.  Aww, man, that was a good dog!
Well, I talked a little bit to President about my doubts, and he told
me to study 2 Nephi 2.  It's really helped.  I realized that I was
doubting based on experiences that I've never had, just what I'd
heard.  It's not cool.  Plus, God is wise.  And He can't take agency
from anyone.  I know, and I'll always know, that the Book of Mormon is
true.  I just wish it weren't so hard to show other people sometimes.
I relate to Alma- "Oh that I were an angel..."  It gets frustrating.
But, I have a question for each of you.  well, three.
1) The greatest commandment is to love God over all things, with all
your heart, might, mind, and strength.  How do we develop that?
2)  Why do some of us have a desire to develop that love, while others do not?
3)  What happens if we don't develop that love?
I was studying this morning about the Atonement, and realized,
comparing my own personal experience, that the only thing that can
take me out of my sins, is love for God.  I want to know what you guys
think about those things.
I've been thinking extensively about Laman and Lemuel, and why they
didn't obey after having so many warnings, and what was really the
problem.  Someone showed me once the part in the beginning of first
Nephi where Nephi tries to tell his brothers about the vision he had,
and Nephi asks them if they had talked to God about the vision of
Lehi, and they said, "No, God doesn't make anything known unto us," or
something like that.  They had doubt, and they didn't really pay
attention to the things of the Lord, so they didn't develop that
spiritual connection like Nephi.  I think the key lies in those three
questions I asked you guys, but I still haven't figured it out yet.

I hope you get the glasses!  I have two pairs of shoes that are both
guaranteed for six months, and relatively comfortable, so I think I'll
be good for the rest of the mission, as far as shoes go.
Oh, I like Pueblo Nuevo. I love new things.  I'm always finding a new
neighborhood or a new street to contact.  I think more than anything I
just need a new companion... let's be honest, this guy's not fun to
live with.  I'm learning a lot, though, and there are lots of good
things about this kid.  I'm working on finding the best parts, and
focusing on that.  He's also improving a ton, so that's exciting to
see.
Hope Becca has fun at camp, and that you guys have a great week!  I
love you all.  Take care.
Yours,
Elder Trent Taylor

Jul 25, 2012

Trent's email 7/18/12


Hey Mom.  Hey Dad.
It's been an alright day.  Pdays are always hectic, but I think it's mostly because I just like relaxing and chatting with other missionaries, and then 3:00 rolls around and I realize we haven't done internet or washed clothes or gone shopping... It's just dumb.  You don't rest on pday.  You prepare.  Weird that I'm coming up on my year mark.  Sometimes, it's like, wow, a year of my mission is over.  Other times its like, when will I get back to real life?  But I know things will be super different when  I get back from my mission... RM status, the pressure to get married, all that stuff.  I was thinking that I could split up every week, one day, for the six most important people - both of you, Becca, Zoe, Courtney, and Cody.  The only people that still write me, really.  Oh, its so strange to get marriage letters.  Katie Cable, Emily Hansen, Tasha, Tiele Quist... maybe they're not all engaged yet, but they're well on their way.  Some of these women will be moms before I get back.  What a crazy responsibility.  I can't even imagine.
Really excited to meet this new kitten of ours.  Hopefully it calms down soon, because I'm sure Dad's patience won't last the month.
You sat next to a new girl?  I'm so excited!  That's the HARDEST thing with our investigators-people don't really talk to them.  Keep it up.
Also, I love the visiting/home teaching program.  I think it's a wonderful way to help each other out, and I think it's definitely inspired.  Too bad that people let their own priorities get in the way of serving one another, because I know that I'd love to have someone come visit me every month.  Remember how happy we were when Gonzalez was our home teacher?  Such a good family!  I hope I can always be good friends, just like that, with the families I home teach.
Casey, Marcus and Gary!  What are they up to?  So glad you got to see the family.
I have the coolest sister.  I'm glad she liked my letter.  We're gonna be hanging out again soon, I'm really excited.  I hope her and Zoe get along well, and we can all hang out together.  I don't know how that'll work out, exactly.  Still trying to decide.  It's more convenient, though, now that we're practically neighbors.
Keep exercising!  I'm a big fan of exercise these days, we're supposed to do it every morning for 30 minutes, and I think it makes it a lot easier to spend the day sweating in the hot sun, because even though walking in the street is difficult, it's not the most physically exhausting part of the day.
So, it's been a little crazy this week.  It's hard.  I see great people who want to follow and obey God and sacrifice a WHOLE LOT of time and money and everything so they can follow him.  But, they're part of other churches, which teach against the Book of Mormon, and therefore, even though they're fantastic people, they're firmly against the Book of Mormon, and can't accept the fulness of the everlasting Gospel.  I wish Heavenly Father would just Paul-it-up-in-here and knock out some of the bad things that are going down to prevent people from finding the truth.  Sometimes, it makes me doubt the truth.  But, I KNOW the Book of Mormon is true.  Nothing is more certain to me.  I love being here, learning, adapting, developing self-mastery.  I hope all young men decide to serve missions.  I love this gospel.  I wish the people of the Church would live the Gospel (Donald Hallstrom's talk from Conference!), but they so often don't. I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the way we find eternal life.  Live it.  Love it. 
So, I got robbed, but not a lot.  Just 200 pesos, which is like, 7 bucks.  Some guy told me he'd fix my shoes and I gave him the cash, and then he didn't fix my shoes, but I found them, so it's okay.  Someone honest is now fixing them.  Also, I sent my glasses, but remember that I'm in a third world country so it's possible that they won't get there before the 27th.  Pray.
Um, so yeah, I am paying some extra money for fixed shoes... it's like, 275 pesos.  Then, I'm gonna fix some other ones (cuz they were crappy when I bought them) for probably another 300 pesos... And none of that is covered by the mission.  I think I have enough in my account for now, but just want you to know that I'm taking some out to pay for that.  Love you guys!
Your Missionary,
Elder Taylor

Jul 18, 2012

Pictures 7/11/12






Trent's email 7/11/12

Glasses! I´m gonna try to send them, but it´ll be really hard!  I don´t know.  We´ll see what we can do.  Thanks for the address, it´s so weird that we live in Draper!
Hahaha, go Spanish speaking skills.  I´m glad he´s getting to practice a lot, I don´t wanna come home to have the only person I know who speaks spanish not be able to understand me. Well, Domincian spanish is so ghetto, he probably won´t anyway, but oh well.
There´s no service in Peru?  Lousy ATT.  Hmm.  I miss phones.  That´ll be a blessing when I get back =)
Well, I hope he´s learning and seeing lots of good things. I want to go to Macchu Piccu one day, my comp has got me interested.  He seems to really like it... Its one of the few things he´s expressed interest in.
Go Becca.  That´s awesome.  I´m glad she´s entertaining herself. So, I totally sewed a hole in the seam of my pants today, AND I fixed my tie.  I´m a Tailor, for real.  I feel like a really independent person when I do stuff like that.  Oh, and I cleaned for four hours today. Lots of fun.
Becca becca becca. Going back to school.  Someone will notice her.  Especially the boys. She´s cute.  And then she´ll find her weird little friends, and it´ll be great.  Time heals all things, just be strong!
Wow, drought and fires?  I forgot about that part of the desert. Definitely hasn´t happened here, and never will.  We fear earthquakes here.  I have to keep the iron on the floor, just in case.
I hope Wendy and Casey come.  I am really lucky to have Becca as a sister.  She´s got a good head, and we´re tight.
Well, yeah, things have gotten better with my companion.  The new mission president´s wife helped me a ton!  She´s really smart.  Really amazing, strong person.  In charge of a multimillion dollar charity in India.  Adopted a paralyzed (from the chest down) child who was scarred by years of drunk mother abuse, and the girl wouldn´t say a word or do ANYTHING for a year.  Sister Douglas had to dress and feed and bathe her.  After a year, she asked if she could paint.  She painted two strokes and stopped.  Today, she´s a returned missionary from the Temple Square mission, she can drive in a hand controlled car, and she´s amazing, apparently.
So, that helped me help my companion.  He´s progressing a lot I see now.  Sis. Douglas says that he´s intimidated by me.  I just have to be more open, loving, and less ¨constructive.¨
As far as the faith thing, I´m doing alright.  Studying the scriptures helps a lot.  I really love the way I feel when I read.  Also, I´m emailing Zoe.  She sent me vegetable recipes.  She´s hanging out in Chile for this summer.  Really awesome girl.
Enjoy the pictures of Junior and Yudelkis, and me and Jefferson!  Love ya!
Elder Taylor

Jul 10, 2012

Trent's email 7/4/12

Hey Mom, and Dad!  I am having a good week.  Wow, look at all the
awesomeness we have going on here.  I wouldn't trade you guys, either.
So, Anthony, our first baptism that now hates the church is hovering
over me right now.  It's kind of obnoxious.  But, what can you do?
I'm sending you pictures of the wedding.  I have for the baptism, too,
but I need to shrink them so they send easily.  It was really cool.
They do have a lot of changes going on, and they still have to make
some changes to themselves, but they're excited to be involved in
everything, and Junior even accompanied us as missionaries to visit
some of his neighbors.  He's doing great.  Pray that he gets a job
soon.
The baptism was super successful.  The program was well planned and
everything went fine, minus the family showing up 45 minutes late.
Ran into an athiest the other day.  He said that the Book of Mormon
and the Bible were a trap for my mind.  I was thinking alot about how
there are a whole lot of muslims and hindus in the world who are just
convinced that they know the real God as I do.  I started to really
doubt the testimony that I've received of the gospel, through that
warm little feeling that we call the Spirit.  I was thinking that it's
almost time for me to go home, because I don't want to be here if I
don't know it's true.  Then, I talked to my District Leader, Elder De
Leon, about what I was thinking, and he told me to read Alma 30 along
with the chapter in the Book of Mormon study guide manual.  I did it.
It talks about Korihor.  One Religious professor said that Korihor's
argument is ridiculous, because "to prove there is no god, using the
criteria that Korihor himself established (the only evidence that you
have is what you can detect with the senses), you'd have to search the
entire universe, from point A to point Z.  But, God can move, so, if
we were to start the search at point A, then we go to point B, and God
moves to point A and stays there for the rest of the search, our
search was ineffective.  So, you have to search every part of the
universe simultaneously, which would ONLY be possible if you were a
God yourself."  So, Korihor really shoots himself in the foot with
that one.  The manual goes on to explain how the prophets in the Book
of Mormon really saw our day, and many of the arguments that the same
AntiChrists use in our day are found in the Book of Mormon.  So, I
realized that I can't really judge God's existence based on what I've
heard about other countries, or the little bit of information I have
about their beliefs, I just have to live according to my experiences,
and up until now, I believe God exists.  And I believe this is His
Church.  The Book of Mormon really is a marvellous work and a wonder,
I wish more people would open their minds and read it.
But, I don't understand why the Church always tells us to use "I know"
instead of "I believe."  I think that's kind of brainwashing.  I have
had a lot of convincing evidence to make me fairly sure that this is
the Church of God, but I definitely don't know it without a doubt.
Maybe I'm crazy.  But I believe it.  I like it.
So, that was my week.  don't worry, I really don't want to go home.  I
love the experiences I'm going through here, plus I'd hate to have to
reapply to BYU, or switch schools completely.  Wouldn't be cool.  How
could this not be the Lord's work when I've become SO Much better, SO
MUCH stronger, and SO MUCH smarter because of the things I'm learning
here?  I'm sure He's blessing me.  Just not positive yet.  I feel like
this same fight will be a fight my whole life.
I'm glad you're digging the ward.  That's important.  Kind of a bummer
that there's no age diversity.  Diversity's so hard to find in Utah as
it is, and now you guys have integrated yourselves completely.  Says
the White, Missionary, BYU Student who grew up in Utah.
I still have to do the laundry today... :/
Hahaha, pesky kittens are fun!  Just not when you're trying to concentrate.
Well, I was going to get my glasses fixed today, but we played
basketball all morning.  I'd love it if you could send me another pair
from Costco!  They have my prescription and frames in this country are
pretty expensive.  Let them be smallish, like the ones I had before,
and with a little bit of orange if you can manage it.
Cleaning cleaning cleaning.  Me too.  Elder Robertson doesn't know
anything about food, so whenever he does something in the kitchen, he
leaves a pretty big mess, and I'm just done asking him to do things,
so I clean a lot.  I like cleaning.  Takes away stress and makes
everything look nice.  Hopefully my new attitude is permanent.
There's always so much cleaning to do.
Go Becca and Natalie!  That is impressive that they can just play for
so long.  I remember days like that.  I'm glad she's not so
technologically integrated that she can't relax.
Peru! How weird.  That seems so far away.  Well, cool, I hope he
enjoys it.  What exactly is he doing out there?  Building schools?
Fixing houses?  Preaching the Gospel??? :)
Bought new shoes.  They're great.  Love them.
Love you guys, take care!
Love,
Trent

Jul 2, 2012

Trent's email 6/27/12

FAMILY!
Ah, you guys are great.  I have been realizing more and more every day
how strong of a person I am, completely because of you three people
over there in Utah.  I'm really sorry that I didn't ever realize it
before, and definitely wasn't as appreciative of all the influence you
guys had on me, especially during high school.  I really miss you
guys, and I'll be happy to be back with you.  And at Fish Lake.
But, that's for another day.  For today, I was going to send you lots
of pictures of a wedding, but I left my camera in the house, so you'll
have to wait til next week.  Yes, we went to the wedding, and we went
to the celebration afterwards (even though we're not technically
supposed to...) and it was fantastic. Junior and Yudelkis are SO
happy!   It's great.   And the kids are stoked to get baptized THIS
WEEKEND.  Saturday.  Big deal.  Everyone in the ward's getting
involved.
Also, Anthony has decided to close his corner store on Sundays to
comply with the Sabbath Day.  He and Yanette should be getting
baptized soon, if he'll just find a little bit more humility and
charity in his slightly worldly heart!
The OTHER anthony, the small one, the Recent Convert, has decided that
he's not worthy of Eternal Life and doesn't want to come back to
church.  He won't really talk to us when we pass by, and he doesn't
want to be involved, so we're just gonna have to do what the manual
says, and focus our efforts on people who are interested.
I hope the ward is friendly this week.  Remember, it's uncomfortable
for them, too, because they don't know what they're supposed to do!
That's one thing I plan on focusing on when I get back from my
mission-making sure everyone feels welcome, and making sure everyone
in the ward is friendly :)
Our laundry (which I still haven't finished doing today.  Ugh).
Involves a "semiautomatic" washing machine, which involves a tank of
water that revolves, where we put the soap and spin it for fifteen
minutes, then clean and rinse with the revolving tank, and then put
the wet clothing in a centrifuge (without heat) which leaves the
clothes mostly dry, and we hang them up to get them completely dry.
So, I know more or less what you're going through, and I don't have a
ton of pity for you.
Elder Douglas gets here THIS Friday, sorry if I communicated that
wrong.  And I'm stoked. It should be cool.  He's apparently going to
have to interview each of us personally within the first two weeks of
his arrival.  I have so much respect for people who dedicate so much
time to service in the Church, it's rough sometimes.  I also wonder
how all these Dominicans can serve missions in their own country-Santo
Domingo is only 1.5 hours from Santiago, and there are two missions in
Santo Domingo, so you could end up serving about 20 minutes from your
house if you're in the city.  I can't imagine serving in Bountiful or
something.  Eugh.  Imagine the temptations.  Mission Presidents are
called for three years as missionaries.
Super stoked about the large backyard.  Can't wait to get trampled by
Becca in Soccer when I get back.
I have also learned, from a couple  companion exchanges, that there
are just some people in this world who have much simpler minds than we
do.  I guess that's what it means to be smart-be able to process lots
of different factors before making a decision.  It goes along well
with Dad's theory about Spiritual Maturity, I guess.
I want to go camping again!  Woo!  That will be fantastic, too.
Yeah.  And eat a smoothie.  Oh, do I miss Orange Peel.
HEY, so, I really really want a CD from EFY... I think it's year 2009,
and I think it's called Give the Gift, but I could be wrong in both
parts.  Courtney's sister said she'd get it for me, butI still don't
have it, and I've had the whole CD stuck in my head for the past to
weeks and I want to listen to it!  The best song has words like, "I am
not the only one who has ever been friendless... who has needed a
Savior" but also has many great songs.  Please SOMEONE send me that
CD.
Actually, I took my glasses to a glasses place, and they said they
can't fix it. It's not that the screw fell out, it's that the frame
broke completely, and it's unfixable, I'm pretty sure.  I wanted to
look for one more optical place, just to see if the other one is lying
to me, but I'm pretty sure they're telling the truth.  But, the lenses
are still in tact, so they said that if I buy new frames that they'll
cut down the lenses for me and put them in.  But, the frames are kind
of expensive.
Anyway, it's been good.  I'm doing alright.  I'm actually doing really well.
Love you all, keep up the good work!
Love,
Trent.